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Hong Kong Policy Address: Housing, Infrastructure, Transport, Smart City

City leader, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, has decided not to stand for re-election in Hong Kong. He gave his policy speech in January covering plans for Hong Kong in various areas such as housing, infrastructure and developments of a 'smart' city.

This means there should be plenty to keep the Hong Kong construction industry thriving.

Hong Kong's Housing Shortage

Housing shortages for the overcrowded island are a big issue. Those applying for public housing have an average wait of at least four years. This last year has seen public housing waiting times rise for the first time in 13 years to almost five years.

Hong Kong's housing shortage isn't down to lack of housing alone but also to affordability.

New developments will be built on three old quarry sites, land owned by the railways and in other urban renewal projects. As many as 210 potential sites have been identified for the builds.

However, objections are already being raised to the suggestions. The politicians want more use of Brownfield sites and not those on the edges of country parks suggested in the policy speech.

Infrastructure

In terms of infrastructure and public works, the Government has put in place ways to manage and keep costs under control. Alongside this, procurement procedures for these projects will be streamlined to reduce costs.

BIM technology is applauded as its application helps to predict how construction projects will pan out avoiding changes along the way. This serves as another means of reducing costs. BIM will be a necessary requirement for design of all major government projects from next year.

Later this year, the Construction Industry Council will introduce an innovation and technology application centre or the introduction of new innovations in these areas.

Transport

The development of new routes on road and rail will continue to see developments on the island.

The Central Kowloon Route will be developed linking Yau Ma Tei with Kowloon Bay. Thus reducing rush hour congestion and reducing journey times between West Kowloon and Kowloon Bay from 30 to 5 minutes.

Included in the plans are the ongoing developments of passenger transport, in particular the railway. The first part will be the Northern Link including Kwu Tung Station, the Tuen Mun South Extension and the East Kowloon Line. Other developments will follow.

Smart City

The policy speech also confirmed that the government is committed to developing technology to make Hong Kong a smart city. These technologies will not only improve city management but also improve the livelihoods of the occupants.

Smart City trials in Kowloon East are underway during 2017 in the areas of the environment, healthcare and transport. These look at several areas including a mobile application to help pedestrians walking around the area. Development of these plans could include integration of the pedestrian app with indoor and outdoor GPS. Other developments could see a parking app for locating empty parking spots.

These studies will help the government to establish a Common Spatial Data Infrastructure (CSDI) which will provide an information base which can be used by government, public and private organisations to support a smart city blueprint in line with the ITB.

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

With so much going on in the Hong Kong construction industry, it pays to keep your eyes on developments if you are looking for professional opportunities. There are plenty of opportunities for quantity surveyors, engineers, BIM and IT specialists.

So please make sure we have a copy of your CV and be sure to check out the opportunities in our job section regularly.

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Richard Poulter
Middle East, Hong Kong &Asia Construction Recruitment Specialist

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